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On-screen smoking, the new sex and violence.

On-screen smoking, the new sex and violence. (photo)

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Like many a moviegoer, the American Medical Association Alliance was unhappy with “Wolverine,” but not for the usual reasons: “Millions of children have been exposed to the main star of the film, Hugh Jackman, with a cigar in his mouth in various scenes,” president Sandi Frost told CNN at the start of this long blockbuster season. “I’m willing to bet that not one child would have enjoyed that movie or Mr. Jackman’s performance any less if he hadn’t been smoking.”

The question of how many enjoyed it at all was, presumably, moot. But ever since a 2006 study concluded that every year 400,000 impressionable teenagers start lighting up because of movies, the AMAA has been lobbying to get an automatic R for any movie with smoking.

While here in the U.S. the MPAA has yet to take the bait, the U.K. might be poised to go them one better. Local communities there are allowed to re-rate films at their own discretion, and the city of Liverpool is seriously contemplating giving all movies with the slightest whiff of tobacco an automatic “18” — under the age of not admitted, an NC-17 equivalent. (Hilariously, historical figures who were documented indulgers are exempt from this ratings harshness, as is anyone shown coughing up a lung or dying of cancer after taking a drag, and the only people who get to smoke on-screen anymore are usually either villains or out of the past anyway.)

You have to wonder: will not seeing any smoking on-screen before 17 (or 18) really prevent kids from seeing any smoking at all before that time? (Well, maybe, in certain parts of Los Angeles.) But the idea of local communities managing their own ratings is a neat one. There will always be places where people feel the need to protest what’s being shown in a movie for whatever moral reason. Instead of wasting a lot of time arguing about what’s OK and not, and given that the MPAA’s famously watery standards tend to frustrate everyone equally, why not set up local committees for cities that want them? If there’s a community so uniformly conservative that, say, “Land Of The Lost” seems like “a solid R,” as one indignant writer on Big Hollywood claimed, for its “sheer abundance of sexual references, filthy language and breast fondling,” let them change the rating and save everyone the editorial space.

In the meanwhile, the town of Liverpool can look to the incredibly overzealous, whose sole criteria for any movie ever is its tobacco content, for guidance. Their ratings system is in lungs — pink and gray — and the pullquotes are so amazing they should be mandatory for all print ads: “You’ll love the amount of tobacco in I Love You Beth Cooper: none!”

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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